Marriage Intentions and Licenses

Marriage Intentions, Licenses and Misc. Information.

Massachusetts General Laws requires that the two parties must appear together in person at the same time and show governmental ID (drivers license, passport, MASS ID, etc.) at the Town Clerk's Office in order to obtain a marriage license, except in special circumstances as detailed below:

• Either party is in the military and unable to appear and either party is a resident of Massachusetts.

• Either party is ill and the illness is confirmed in writing by a physician.

• Either party is incarcerated in a County or State House of Corrections.

You must also be at least 18 years old, not related to the other party, and not currently married.

The fee for filing Marriage Intentions in Dartmouth is $40.00.

Pre-Marital Medical Certificates are no longer required effective 1/28/2005


• No man shall marry his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, stepmother, grandfather's wife, grandson's wife, wife's mother, wife's grandmother, wife's daughter, wife's granddaughter, brother's daughter, father's sister or mother's sister. (MGL Chapter 207, Section 1.)

• No woman shall marry her father, grandfather, son, grandson, brother, grandmother's husband, daughter's husband, granddaughter's husband, husband's grandfather, husband's son, husband's grandson, brother's son, sister's son, father's brother or mother's brother. MGL Chapter 207, Section 2.)

• A marriage contracted while either party has a former wife or husband (except as provided in Section 6 of 207 and in Chapter 208 of the Massachusetts General Laws.

• A marriage of a person under the age of eighteen years, except as provided in Chapter 207, Section 25 of the Massachusetts General Laws is prohibited.


Intentions of Marriage

The process of filing your intentions to be married takes about 20 minutes, so please plan accordingly. The two parties to the marriage will be asked to complete and sign under oath a Notice of Intention of Marriage. Among other details in the Intention of Marriage, information that is essential to completing this form includes your social security number, your place of birth and your mother's maiden name. Blood tests are no longer required in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Massachusetts does however require a mandatory three (3) day waiting period from the time the intention is filed before a license can be issued; Saturdays, Sundays and holidays are included in the three days. For example, if you apply on a Friday, your license will be issued on or after Monday. A waiver from this period may be obtained from the courts. All marriage licenses must be picked up in person at the Town Clerk's office prior to the ceremony.

Exceptions to both parties appearing in person exist due to special circumstances: If a person is in the military, intentions may be filed by either party, providing one is a Massachusetts resident. If a person is incarcerated in a state or a county house of correction facility, hospitalized or otherwise unable to come to town hall due to medical reasons attested to by a physician, intentions may be filed by either party.


Marriage Licenses

After the three (3) day waiting period, one of the parties to the marriage must pick up the license from the Town Clerk’s Office. It is important that it is checked for spelling, typos, etc. at this stage! A marriage license must be used for a ceremony in Massachusetts within sixty (60) days from the date of filing the Intention of Marriage. The solemnizer (member of the clergy, Justice of the Peace, etc.) who performs the ceremony must sign the license after the ceremony and return it to the Town Clerk's Office. If the solemnizer is a "One Day Solemnizer", the ORIGINAL CERTIFICATE FROM THE COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE must also be submitted to the Town Clerk's Office when the license is returned. Once the license has been completed and returned, it will be filed with the State Registry of Vital Records and will be on file in the Town Clerk's office where it was issued.

Marriage Certificate Request

If you previously filed your intentions to be married in the Dartmouth Town Clerk's Office and would like a certified copy of your marriage license/certificate, please submit a Marriage Certificate Request. We strive for same day turnaround of your request, but please note that sometimes it may take up to 10 days to process - and longer if we are mailing it back to you. Certified copies of Marriage Certificates are available upon request for a fee of $10.00 per copy.

If you need immediate access to your marriage record, the Registry of Vital Records can provide you with a certified copy if you order on-line and pay an additional fee. The Registry of Vital Records office can also provide in-person service at 150 Mt. Vernon Street, Dorchester, MA, 02125.


Changing Your Name

In addition to being a marriage application form, the Notice of Intention to Marriage form also serves as a legal name change document. The document will ask which surname you would like to use after marriage. Both parties may change their last name to whatever they wish at this time. By answering this question, you avoid the probate court fees for initiating a name change.

A certified copy of your marriage certificate will be needed at the following locations and you must appear in person:

• Social Security Administration, 10 Fawcett St, 1st FL, Cambridge, MA 02138

• Registry of Motor Vehicles, 550 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA 02472

• If you have a passport, fill out this form to make the name change.

• You should also make the necessary changes to your work, insurance, health care provider, banks, retirement, etc.

Additional assistance can be found at:

Mass Registry of Vital Records

150 Mt. Vernon Street

Dorchester, MA 02125-3105

(617) 740-2600


Divorce & Widowed Applicants

You are not required to present a divorce certificate when filing intentions to marry. However, it is extremely important that an individual who has been divorced be certain that his/her divorce is absolute. If you are uncertain as to the absolute date of your divorce, you should contact the court where the divorce was granted.

In Massachusetts, a divorce does not become absolute until 90 days after the divorce nisi has been granted, regardless of the grounds for divorce. There are no special requirements for a widow or widower who is remarrying.


If you are One Day Designee and/or Out of State Non-resident, you must file for a One-Day Solemnization Certificate. This process takes 2-4 weeks. Please use the link below to access Secretary Galvin's for more information:

One-Day Solemnization Certificate Application